1 Mar 2024

Where is the Princess of Wales? The internet knows

9:55 pm on 1 March 2024
Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales arrives at Westminster Abbey in central London on May 6, 2023, ahead of the coronations of Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort. - The set-piece coronation is the first in Britain in 70 years, and only the second in history to be televised. Charles will be the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned at the central London church since King William I in 1066. Outside the UK, he is also king of 14 other Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Camilla, his second wife, will be crowned queen alongside him, and be known as Queen Camilla after the ceremony. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, at King Charles' coronation in May 2023. Photo: ODD ANDERSEN / AFP

In January, the royal family announced Kate Middleton, more formally known as the Princess of Wales, would be taking a break from public life until Easter as she recovered from a "planned" abdominal surgery.

An official statement from Kensington Palace asked that the Princess be given privacy during that time. "She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normalcy for her children as possible," the statement read.

Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince George of Wales (left) leave after attending the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate in eastern England, on 25 December, 2023.

The Princess, seen here with Prince George on her last public outing on Christmas Day, 2023. Photo: AFP / Adrian Dennis

Her extended recovery time raised a little suspicion. But it wasn't really until this week - when Prince William unexpectedly announced he would be missing his godfather's funeral, citing a "personal matter" - that the wildest rumours of her whereabouts began emerging.

The Princess of Wales' last public engagement was Christmas 2023, and she has not been seen or heard from since. The story is a perfect confluence of conspiracy theory and celebrity gossip - so it truly begs the question: Where is Kate Middleton?

Here are some of the most insane theories floating around on the internet.

Recovering from BBL surgery

It takes two to three months to fully recover from a Brazilian butt lift. This one is not unreasonable; modern beauty standards are impossible and dangerous to reach, and cosmetic surgery is not beyond the realms of something someone with that much visibility would undergo. It would also be hard knowing the biggest day of your life was overshadowed in the media by your sister's bottom. On the other hand, this is the same woman the royal family had out on the steps of St Mary's Hospital mere hours after she gave birth. I think if she really had a BBL to display she would have been out on the Sandringham grounds by the end of January.

Britain's Catherine, Princess of Wales sits with a half-pint of Guinness with members of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards following their St Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks in Aldershot, south west of London, on March 17, 2023. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP)

The Duchess of Cambridge with a half-pint of Guinness at Mons Barracks in Aldershot, south west of London, on St Patrick's Day, 2023. Photo: CHRIS JACKSON

On an Ozempic journey

Ozempic, the blockbuster weight loss drug that made Oprah step down from the WeightWatchers board, is a hot commodity in Hollywood right now. (Of course, the medication is actually meant to control blood sugar levels in diabetics, but look - if it works, it works.) Ozempic is known to cause some complications: side effects include constipation and diarrhoea. Pooing your pants is not hot. I would understand taking some time away for this.

Growing out her bangs

Bad bangs can ruin a woman. Everyone deserves the privacy to grow out a bad haircut without the threat of public humiliation. But I also think the Princess has the capacity to pull off an array of beautiful and whimsical hats if she wanted to maintain a public presence. Like the military-style ones they wear to weddings, or a cowboy hat if her next engagement happens to be Laneway.

Returning from the Willy Wonka experience

Where to start with this one? The theory claims the Princess of Wales was spotted at the Willy Wonka Experience in Glasgow - an event that promised a world of pure imagination and delivered a house of horrors. Attractions included a bouncy castle and tables serving jellybeans and lemonade. Do I think Kate can make nice lemonade? Yes. Do I think she would dress up as a Scottish Oompa Loompa for the children of Glasgow? Maybe. But for $12.25 an hour? Absolutely not.

Camilla is Saltburning

One of the better theories based on Emerald Fennell's hit Saltburn suggests Queen Camilla is slowly getting rid of the royal family one by one. I would never suggest such a thing, so here's X user mihailo laying it out best: "Kate Middleton missing, Queen Elizabeth dead, King Charles has cancer, Princess Diana dead, Prince William bald, Prince Harry poor, Queen Camilla won."

Kate is Banksy

Kate is a bit of an artist. She loves her photography - what about a bit of stencilling too? Have you ever seen Kate and Banksy in the same room together?

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